Fair trade stalls in church and trading on Sundays

Question 164, from Tessa, UK

I work for a fair trade organisation. A lot of my customers are not permitted by their churches to hold fair trade stalls on Sundays, which is frustrating for both activists and supporters. Our official view is that Jesus’ anger at the trading that took place in the temple was specifically to do with unjust scales, precisely the situation fair trade is helping to challenge. But from a personal point of view it would be interesting to see a deeper theological analysis of the debate – “should churches sell fair trade on Sundays?”

It is interesting that since the late 1980s when there was a concerted political campaign in the UK to prevent Sunday trading and ‘Keep Sunday Special’, shopping on Sundays is much more acceptable for Christians these days. In fact, many of the arguments made by the Keep Sunday Special campaigners were prescient – Sunday has become (more…)

Making the case for Christian environmentalism

Question 163 from Elizabeth, Canada

I recently went on vacation to the U.S. and was just blown away by the “Christian” right wing movement that seems to be rampant. I had no problem using my dusty memories from bible college to defend my “socialist” ideas of health care, but drew a blank when it came to being eco-friendly. Somehow the Genesis passage about subduing the earth became the rallying cry for consumption, the earth was made for us to use (and apparently abuse.) I know we are to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us and I believe the environment is a gift. How is a “pinko liberal communist tree hugger” to respond?

The following article was written by guest theologian, Abi.

This is an interesting question, especially in the light of lots of international talk about carbon footprints, zero gas emissions and reaching Kyoto protocol targets! Theologically, the issue of ecology, climate change and the environment can be a confusing one, and with so many approaches it is difficult to know how respond. Therefore, (more…)